Highpower positions, sling use, and gloves...pics!


Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 06:56 PM
I've noticed a lot of questions about how this and that works for HP, so I took some time today and made up some pics. Now, everyone has a different body and different methods, but hopefully this is good enough to get some basics across to you guys. These postitions get me Master level scores consistently, so they're pretty good. They do change a little from match to match but the build up is the same. Hopefully you will also see how the sling works and how to use the glove and other equipment. BTW, this is the first time I've slathered my pics on the internet, so consider yourselves lucky (that you haven't had to look at my face before now).


A comments here:

In this one you can see that the rifle is quite high on my shoulder, which it typical for an HP standing stance. The reason is that it gets the sights up to your eye level instead of dropping your head over, which would throw off your balance. You can also see that my left elbow is against my ribcage and my hand is right up at the delta ring. My rifle balances right there, so left arm is transferring the weight of the rifle directly down...I could stand like that all day. One thing you will notice is that my little finger is somewhat covering the ejection port so I have to watch this while shooting standing and "roll" the rifle out to make sure its clear after each shot. Other hand positions can lessen this problem, but go with what works best for your shooting. If you look closely, you'll see that there's an S bend in my body, with my right shoulder beyond (further to the rear) my right hip. I only recently started doing that but it made a big improvement on the stability of my standing positon. Note how that in this positon, I keep my head back on the stock...it is more comfortable and I get a more accurate view of the sights. My right hand grips the pistol grip firmly, but not enough to affect a good trigger pull.

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Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 06:58 PM
Standing feet

On this one, do whatever feels comfortable. What I do is cradle the rifle and close my eyes, and pay attention to my balance. I move my feet till I am not swaying and I'm happy with my stance. Then I'll check my NPA and adjust my feet again to make sure that my NPA is dead on. Then I'll close my eyes again and adjust again. Back and forth between the two will get you to a point where both meet and you'll be in the best position you can be. After that, never move your feet till all your shooting is done.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 06:59 PM
Standing from front.

In this one you can tell that there is some backbend going on and that the rifle is actually centered over my hips so that its weight isn't pulling me forward.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:01 PM
Sitting from front.

In the sitting pics the first thing that grabs my attention is something I don't like. I have a big cro-magnon ridge above my eyes and bushy eyebrows, so you can see that I'm actually raising my eyebrows in this shot. If I do my part I can shoot in the very high 190's from this position (out of 200) so its hard for me to change it, even though I don't like the eyebrow thing. My You will see that the position is very low and compact and that is tremendously important. My face is actually against my left shoulder. (Shoulders in this position are "curled" forward for a more compact stance). In this and the next pic you can see that the "flat" of the elbow is the contact point with the knee and that both elbows are in front of the knees (toward target) to resist recoil. In this position, the sling should be pretty tight so the gun hardly moves in recoil. A primary thing about the sling is that it is literally holding the rifle up...neither arm is holding the rifle up in any of these pics! If you are holding the gun up or in a position even just a little your scores will suffer tremendosly.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:02 PM
Sitting from left side.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:04 PM
Sitting from right.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:06 PM
Hand and sling position for prone.

This is just a detail of how the sling looks and you're seeing me index my hand in my "prone spot." I have some spots marked with black tape for my thumb positions.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:08 PM
Prone from right side.

Here's the thing that freaks some folks out about my position. The rifle is REALLY low in my shoulder. No, I don't know why I like it that way. My sling is somewhat taught (not enough to make my arm go numb in 20 minutes though) but its taught enough that when I put my rifle into my shoulder, its really locked in there. Then I push the butt down so that it really gets locked in and so its where I want it in my shoulder. Low, but it works for me. The pistol grip doesn't touch the ground (against the rules anyway).

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:11 PM
Prone from above.

Here you can see that I'm pretty straight behind the gun. Some guys can go farther, but I can't. This doesn't matter as much with the AR as it did with the M1A as being straight lessened the recoil effect on your positon. You can also see how my left elbow is under or beyond the underside of the rifle. From what I can see when I'm actually behind the gun, it feels like my left elbow is actually on the right side of the gun, actually, but just a hair. You can also see that my right arm is very close in. Some guys do this and others don't. It keeps me really solid.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:12 PM
Prone seen from rear.

Again you can see how in-line I am behind the gun. Depending on the day I will maybe hike my leg up more for a tighter position...especially for rapids. The collar of the coat is just goofed up, not intentional, but I imagine it could keep hot brass off my back better this way.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:21 PM
Prone from front.

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:22 PM
Make sure your scope is close enough that you can easily see through it without moving. This shot also shows how to rest the rifle between shots and while waiting for pit service.

March 15, 2003, 07:24 PM
Cool pics, Steve! Did you get any 'man with a gun' police visits? :D

Thanks for clearing up all the confusion. SHould I seek professional instruction nonetheless?

Steve Smith
March 15, 2003, 07:29 PM
No "man with a gun" visits so far. I hope these pics make some sense. If anyone has questions, I have a few more pics that will hopefully help and I will most likely wind up doing some commentary on these as I go.

Professional help? Well, aside from the military teams, there aren't any real "professionals" but there is nothing wrong with getting some coaching. It (coaching) improved my game tremendously, and it still does. Now I am a coach too. What comes around goes around, I guess.

March 15, 2003, 08:40 PM
Thanks!!These help alot.Things i've read are a lot clearer now.

March 16, 2003, 09:23 AM
If you get a chance to post those other photos,and commentary,please do!

Steve Smith
March 16, 2003, 11:15 AM
Here's one more pic to show how you shouldn't be holding the rifle up and how it should be pressed into your shoulder by sling pressure.

I hope folks don't mind me putting this thread up. I would have loved it when I got started, as all I had were the Jim Owens books. The dark, poor quality, black and white images did nothing for my understanding of things. This would have helped me, so I hope it helps you guys.

Please tell me if you want a pic of something specific.

March 17, 2003, 08:34 AM
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to post this.You've probably saved me a truck load of ammo,and time,fiquring this out on my own.
There is a hp clinic Mar.30,and the first event Apr.4 near here.This has really helped getting over the "i have no idea what i'm doing"butterflies. I also am "starting" to see what all the gear is for. Reguardless of my scores,I think i am really going to enjoy this.
The wife and kids are enjoying this too. They love seeing my fat rear trying to get off the living room floor after the sitting position!!:D

Steve Smith
March 17, 2003, 10:56 AM
BTW, folks, please read anything that JC121 posts here. He's a great shooter and a great friend. He's also been an excellent coach for me. I'm just running around in his footsteps right now.

March 17, 2003, 02:58 PM
Awesome thread Steve.

Speaking of coaching, you posted to a thread I started on TFL a long time ago about long range rifle shooting using iron sights. The information in your post helped my shooting tremendously.

Keep up the good work! :D

March 17, 2003, 03:18 PM
Standing from front.

If I don't know better, I could swear that the tiny .224 hole on the barrel looks like a 5 inch gun from the USS Missouri when its pointed at me. :what:

Steve Smith
March 17, 2003, 10:35 PM
Ahh, but you should be afraid of the "prone from front." Your head is still a viable target at 600 yards with that one! ;)

Jon Coppenbarger
March 17, 2003, 11:10 PM
very nice photo's and explanation of the photo's.

also thank you for the kind words.
is there a way to save the thread and photo's for reference here?

the positions he has are very solid and are text book for the highpower sport and photo's speak a thousand words!

thanks jon

March 18, 2003, 07:23 AM
it's hard to see the position of your legs in the sitting pix, are they crossed?

do they do any shooting from the kneeling position?

thanx for the post!


Steve Smith
March 18, 2003, 09:45 AM
Yes, legs are crossed "indian" style. There are other acceptable siting positions, but this is the most stable and therefore what you will maily see on the line.

You may kneel in the siting portion of the match, but it is very unstable by comparison. There is no kneeling only portion of the match.

March 18, 2003, 12:33 PM
Hey,thanks Steve.I plan on trying to shoot in some "John C. Garand" high power matches this summer.
It is a new game for me.Thanks for the info.
Paul :)

March 18, 2003, 04:19 PM
thanx, the question now is can the old guy still sit like that, and if so, will he be able to get up afterward...



March 18, 2003, 05:14 PM
where can i get a capitalist oppressor sticker?

March 19, 2003, 01:27 PM

Thanks for posting the pictures and the PM letting me know this thread was out here.

I noticed that while standing your support hand had your palm and your fingers point towards you. While shooting some of the Sunday reduced matches and coaching from Cold, I have my hand reversed so that my thumb is on the right and fingers on the left. In that position the fingers are pointing straight up. Is there any disadvantage using this stance instead of the one you have in the picture?

I'm also glad you posted pictures of the sitting position. I wasn't quite sure what a good stance was for that. One question on sling use. When you have that loop in place around your arm, is the sling actually buckled on the butt end or is it free so that the end of the sling is almost all the way out? Basically if loose the metal claw in the butt sling loop of the AR.

As I was looking at the pictures I was thinking the same thing as Skunkabilly. I was figuring one of your neighbors would look out the window and see you out there with that "evil" weapon.

Steve Smith
March 19, 2003, 02:23 PM
Your left had position is a personal thing. I've changed mine many times in the last year. Just find something that works for you.

Yes, I have the sling connected at the rear of the stock. Some guys don't but at least reconnect the tag end back to the sling so the frog doesn't catch your shoestring or something else.

cracked butt
March 23, 2003, 09:04 AM
Great thread! I especially learned a bit about the sitting position that plagues me so much. The sticker on your stock also made my day.:D

March 26, 2003, 10:19 PM
Hey, Steve, great thread, and the pictures are terrific, also.

One suggestion if I might. Could you post a picture of the crossed ankle position for those who may be afflicted with either the Dunlop disease or advanced age (I have both) and are unable to assume the low, crossed leg position. It has been many years since I have been able to get the better crossed leg position.


Jon Coppenbarger
March 27, 2003, 01:16 AM
I am 48 going on 49 and I have a mid age gut going on and I sit real close to that and I mean real close.

when I switched from a m1a I shot crossed ankle back when I quit in 92 to the crossed leg with the ar15 when I started again in the fall of 2001 I really gave it my all to get the crossed leg position down.

alot of folks might think that it is a un-comfy position and it is unless you find the right position and it took me a good year to get it down. and even now I am looking at ways to slightly adjust my head position as it kinda floats on the stock but I will keep it like it is and play with it some in practice.

in that position like in the photo I have not dropped more than 1 point in a match since oct.

in the photo steve has the perfect classic crossed leg position down to head position and everything else.

the only difference I have ( maybe age and mid-section) is in my head position and my rifle is out more to the right with extreme sling pressure but those are very, very small changes and are more to fit my body than anything else.

the position is very comfy and very, very repeatible which is what you want.
I will sit like that alot while ready a book or watching tv or out on the lawn in the summer, the leg position anyway and it becomes a natual position that you can drop right into. plus on the mag change my left elbow never comes off my leg. all I do is to take the rifle out of my shoulder rotate the rifle slightly drop the mag , insert new mag , reach across and hit the bolt release and look the stock back into the right position in the shoulder and drop the right elbow back down on my leg and my npa has never changed and you are banging away again in a few seconds.

it is not a position you master over night but for a ar15 its worth the practice time.
good luck jon

Steve Smith
March 27, 2003, 10:26 AM
I can get the pic sometime this weekend, but as Jon said, the cross legged position is usually better but to start with it won't feel like it. Spend some time stretching and getting into that position and you may find that you can do it easily in a few days or a week.

March 27, 2003, 11:24 AM
Agree 100% the crossed leg position is much better than crossed ankle, if you can get into it. I could, and did in the late 50's/early 60's but when I got back into HP in '83, what w/Dunlop disease and arthritis, just couldn't get that low position any longer.

Jon, I got 18 years on you and believe me, sitting is not one of my favorite positions. ;) Biggest problem I had w/crossed ankle position was with the recoil of either the M1 or my '06 bolt gun would rock me back each shot and recovery time, especially w/bolt gun used up a lot of time. Finally hit on the solution to that.......switched my billfold to my right hip pocket. This acted as a wedge and helped tremendously. Sometimes the smallest change can make a great difference. Doubt that the AR would be a problem in this regard.

Steve, I certainly was not criticizing your thread. I think you have done a great service to shooters in general, and especially new shooters. As someone said, you have saved them many hours and lots of ammo in "discovering" lots of the little tricks of the trade. In fact, I e.mailed a link to the thread to a friend that, I am sure, will benefit from it greatly. The cross ankle was just a suggestion, since I feel sure there are those that for whatever reason cannot use the cross leg position. Keep up the good work!


PS Congratulations on the Master classification!

Steve Smith
March 27, 2003, 02:52 PM
I'll try to get that cross-legged pic soon. Perhaps an open-legged position would be good too, although I've only seen one person ever do that and he didn't shoot so well.

I assume your congrats are to JC121 because I am still an Expert right now. I might shoot Master scores, but I have to wait until the NRA pats me on the head and tells me that I've been a good boy before I can claim Master.

March 27, 2003, 03:17 PM
Sorry the congrats were premature. I read one of your previous posts saying a position allowed you to shoot master scores and interpreted that as that you had received your card.

Hang in there, they'll come thru one of these days.

Like you, I only know one shooter who uses the open-legged position and he is a looooong legged feller:) .


March 28, 2003, 08:14 AM
Steve , I enjoyed the thread . I'm working with the Garand untill I get it worked out . So far my rapids are the worst , I've tried cross leg and cross ankle and results are about the same . I have found that a very tight sling seems to help . Any Ideas ?

Thanks , Jack

Steve Smith
March 28, 2003, 09:50 AM
While I own a Garand, I don't shoot it much. I think the best way to handle her would be cross ankled, shooting almost straight out of your position (almost over your feet), with your legs stretched out quite a ways and your torso very low over your legs. Tight sling. Elbows in front of knees. If you want to get really serious use some shooting pants with rubber on the knees and spray some stick-um on your elbows. That's what the old timers did.

March 28, 2003, 07:10 PM
I guess I'm moving in the right direction then . I'm still trying to do this with whatever I might have with me in the beanfield at the time . Special pants and spray on stickum almost seems like ...like cheatin':D In order to get to the top of the thirty caliber pile I realize that's what I'll have to do . I just want to see what I can do before I get all that gear that make it work .

Thanks , Jack

April 9, 2003, 12:30 PM
Bump - great thread.

Is it just me, or is sitting one of the most difficult positions to pull off? I'm 6' 3", 210 pounds, and I felt that I had to 'hunchback' to get a sight picture AND put my elbows on the flats of my knees.

April 9, 2003, 02:20 PM
Sitting is a bit difficult but once you get the position sorted out, it beats standing IMHO:) .

Having never shot an AR, can't comment on them, but one thing I have found helpful in sitting is to place butt of rifle very high on my shoulder and canting it to the left (I am right handed). This places the rifle so that line of sight is pretty much centered in my glasses without having to crane my neck or bend head forward. The more erect your head is, the less eye strain and the better your vision.

Either sitting position will work well with the garand, as Steve pointed out, you want as much of your body weight directly behind the rifle as you can get to help absorb the recoil and lessen recovery time between shots.

I don't think this has been mentioned before, if I missed it, please excust the duplication, but, whatever position you feel more comfortable with, use your prep period to get a good natural aim point and when command "shooters stand" is given, keep your feet positioned as they are and stand w/legs crossed. This allows you to assume the sitting position and get the nap back with very little effort and lost time. NAP is VERY important in all positions, but possibly even moreso in the rapids.


Steve Smith
April 9, 2003, 02:31 PM
Well, there are a couple of different ways to get up and sit down. The way the guys from the AMU taught me was much more simple and it works well for me. Get your NPA, then mark where both your feet are and spit right in front of your crotch (can I say that here?) to mark your butt position. Get up normally. Put your left heel right were your mark was (or better, get up without moving this foot). When the targets come up you use your firing arm to steady your descent, put your other foot where the mark is, check your crotch/spit mark, and get down in position. It works well and keeps you from rolling over backwards.

April 10, 2003, 11:22 PM
"capitalist oppresor"
god, I live in berkeley CA, and I soooo need that sticker!!


April 20, 2003, 09:08 AM
I shot my first service rifle clinic yesterday and was crowing about it over in Rifle. Steve was kind enough to get my attention and suggest I look in here and the first thing I find is his great thread showing some of the techniques I saw the experienced shooters using. Thanks Steve.

Is there a good set of pictures/instructions for sling settings? I was shooting a Garand with a leather sling and had no more ideas about how to position it than the old left hand wrap I'd seen in the past.

Steve Smith
April 20, 2003, 10:31 AM
I will be out of town for the next few weeks. Hopefully someone will pick up the ball and run with it concerning those sling pics.

October 30, 2003, 12:01 AM
I hope nobody minds me bumping this thread.

I just searched for it specificially and was glad to have it found it again in the archive.

Steve Smith
October 30, 2003, 09:52 AM
Hmm...seems I forgot to take some pics...maybe I'll do that this weekend.

October 30, 2003, 09:56 AM
Thanks for the pix, though I'm not sure I would have wanted to be the photographer in some of them.

Steve Smith
October 30, 2003, 10:59 AM
I know it is hard to tell but there is an OBI in the gun in all those pics. JC121 was the photographer and be have a great deal of trust between us. We made the decision to do what we did in order to have good pictures for you guys.

October 30, 2003, 03:36 PM
Absolutely awesome that this was bumped up. Of course, I see a few little things I can do to adjust my positions. Practice goals for this winter I guess.

FWIW, I spent some time last winter dry-firing a 1903A3, and only have one hole in the fridge to account for! :)

Thanks guys, this is helpful.

Steve Smith
October 30, 2003, 04:27 PM
I see things I could improve by looking at these too!

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